PS4 is built around treating developers like publishers, providing a level playing field, maintaining relationships, and removing hurdles. Those are the "four pillars of self-publishing" as detailed by Agostino Simonetta, Senior Account Manager of Publisher and Developer Relations at SCE Europe, during a talk at this week's Develop conference in the UK.
"Every single individual developer is a publisher as far as we're concerned," said Simonetta of the first of the self-publishing pillars."We don't separate, we don't segregate indies from traditional publishers."
Simonetta explained self-publishing indies have control over their games' release dates on PS4, and can work with Sony on promotion through channels like the PlayStation Blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts. However, these opportunities aren't guaranteed. "It boils down to the objective quality of your title," Simonetta pointed out.
This relationship extends to an "open-door" policy at SCE Europe, where self-publishing PS4 indies are welcome to visit the company's London office to sit and talk face-to-face about their games. "For us, it's key that each and every one of the companies working on PlayStation can come and talk to us at any time they want or need," Simonetta said.
As with the PS4 hardware, Simonetta continued, Sony altered its processes to be more welcoming to indies, explaining how the platform holder offers a one-stage approval process now. Developers submit concepts, Sony provides a template and a list of criteria, and within a week a studio knows if it can bring its game to PS4 - or not.
"In the past we used to provide developers feedback on the gameplay of their game," Simonetta added. "We still do that today if you want. You need to a tick a box and say 'I'd be happy to listen to what Sony has to say.' If you like it you can implement it in your game, if you don't you can completely disregard it.
"We really believe that as a self-publishing company, the final quality of your product is with you. And no company is set up to deliver a bad game."
To date, there are over 500 self-published games from more than 160 studios on PSN. The roster of announced self-published PS4 games includes Octodad: The Dadliest Catch, Jonathan Blow's The Witness, and Galak-Z by Skulls of the Shogun dev 17-bit.